WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Three years ago, an emergency aid program was unveiled at Midwestern State University for students experiencing food insecurity.

However, since the start of the pandemic, those behind the Mustangs Pantry said the demand is making it hard to keep the pantry shelves stocked.

MSU Texas student Fynne Forde said it is very reassuring knowing the pantry is there for students if and when they need it.

“As a student, you have a lot of different things to worry about; you have to worry about your classes, you have to worry about how you’re paying for your bills, you have to worry about your tuition, and then you still have to worry about what you’re going to eat,” Forde said. “Let’s say you don’t have any money, at least you know where you’re going to get something to eat.”

Twice a week, students are able to pick up a bag filled with essentials, anything from a bag of rice to a bottle of milk.

“One of the most important things while you’re going to school, is you need a proper home-cooked meal, and, although it’s not home-cooked, at least you know where you’re getting the groceries to make something to eat. Not everybody has a meal plan,” Forde said.

Forde said the need for the pantry increased for some people she knew during the pandemic.

“They only got money from their parents back at home, but their parents lost their jobs,” Forde said. “Sometimes the country went on lockdown, so that means their parents couldn’t go anywhere, and their parents couldn’t go to work, so that source of income that would come to you as a student, you couldn’t get that anymore.”

Additionally, Forde said many students who worked had their hours cut because of COVID-19, making it tough to provide for themselves.

It’s for these reasons the pantry was created, but Special Events Coordinator Cynthia Cummings said in-kind donations have decreased, and she is hoping community members will step up and contribute to a well-needed service.

“We are lowering the needs of our students, so they can focus on their school work,” Cummings said. “I think that is a huge thing, instead of being hungry while they’re trying to work and wondering where their next meal is going to come from.”

Cummings and Forde urge the community to join the fight against food insecurity on MSU’s campus by giving what they can.

If you would like to give a helping hand to this nonprofit, follow this link to find out how.